Several months ago, Jason had an epic closet purge. Like most of us, he was tired of having a full closet, but nothing to wear. I helped him purge his dress shirt collection, then grabbed them and hid them in Kate the Chicken’s closet.

You see, I had a Plan for them. This was the plan:

Adorable. Recycled. Perfect.

The problem? The Pinterest pin did not lead to a tutorial, or instructions, just a photo. And I am not confident enough in my fledgling sewing skills to make my own pattern.

I had also pinned several pillowcase dress tutorials. If you’re unfamiliar with this style of dress, they look like this (courtesy of Aesthetic Nest):

Then I ran across this tutorial on Smashworks, which is technically for turning a men’s dress shirt into a women’s tank top, and I decided to hybridize the two ideas.

I started with my least favorite shirt from Jason’s castoff collection.


It’s an off-white shirt with gold and blue stripes. The material is lightweight, so it will make a nice summer dress.


First, I cut off the sleeves, following the old seam.


Once that was done, I measured six inches up from the bottom of the armhole and cut straight across, to get rid of the collar and extra top material. Then I folded and pressed the armhole seam (making cuts in the fabric to go around the U-shaped opening), and folded and pressed again, then pinned and sewed the armholes.


I used a lot of pins, because this part is the most nerve-wracking for me.

This is what the inside of the armhole looked like when I was done sewing. It ain’t pretty, but no one will see it:


After that, it was time to make a casing for the ties at the top of the dress. I folded the top over just a little and pressed it. Then I folded it over one inch and pressed it again. This keeps the raw edges out of sight. Finally, I sewed the shirt right across the front, steamrolling over the placket and button.


Finally, I took some blue ribbon I had on hand, and threaded it through the casing I just made. You can arrange the ties in several ways – one bow on each shoulder, one bow on a side, or if you’re feeling super-frisky, you can sew your ribbon to itself and have now bows at all.


I have no idea what size this dress is – I’m guessing a 2T. 3T? I don’t know. It will fit her eventually.

But it’s cute, right? And it was free.


I have six more shirts to turn into dresses. Now that I have one under my belt, I think the rest should be easy – famous last words, I know. This is about the largest dress I could get out of Jason’s shirt, but I can certainly make smaller versions. And I will play around with various tie options – making ties out of the leftover sleeve material, for example, or a contrasting fabric.

In addition to being relatively simple, this project was not time-consuming. It took me just a couple of hours from start to finish, and most of that was spent fretting about the armholes.

These little dresses would make sweet shower gifts, especially if one of the baby’s parents has to dress up for work. Goodwill has a huge selection of button-downs, or you can peruse the clearance racks at other stores.

I can’t wait to make more!





Filed under Home, Kate the Chicken, Projects

4 responses to “Frankenshirt

  1. I’m sure you saw this in your search, but maybe this is helpful?

    Looking forward to Kate the Chicken!

    • Windy Taylor

      That is adorable. The hand-me-down hierarchy in our house says that all my castoffs go to Hollyn (we’re the same size in tops), then Jensen, so Kate the Chicken will have to get in line!

  2. tracykcarson

    Oh be still my testosterone driven home and heart! I know Keith is happy we are having a boy because the wardrobe budget is significantly smaller but what I wouldn’t give to have a little girl to dress!! This is so precious, I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

    • Windy Taylor

      Thanks, Tracy! It’s taken me a while to adjust to the idea of having a girl, but projects like this certainly make it easier to look forward to!

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